Calling all street food lovers (which should be everyone.) Street food is on the rise, with more and more food trucks and street-side cuisine stations popping up in cities around the country. Generally fast and affordable, street food is a great way to experience a variety of different cultures and cuisines. Not only that, but it gives local chefs an opportunity to shine by placing their own unique spin on classic flavors and recipes. Got you salivating? Read on!
What’s street food?
Remember as a child your elation at the melodic sound of an ice cream truck circling your neighborhood? Street food takes that same brilliantly convenient idea and reworks it for breakfast, lunch, dinner — even your afternoon coffee. Only have a few bucks? No problem. Forgot to put on a tie? No need. Grabbing a bite off the street is something anyone can do. Not to mention it’s great fun with family and friends during the summer months!
You actually meet the cook
Unlike at a restaurant where you’re served by a waiter or counter staff, street food allows you to interact directly with the person preparing your meal. By removing the middle man, you get a more personable experience, and you’re able to see exactly how your food is being prepared. With street food, local chefs feel encouraged to try their hands at all kinds of dishes, from classic favorites like burgers and hotdogs to exotic cuisine like Thai, Chinese, French, Mexican and experimental fusion dishes.
And did we mention it’s fast? Chefs can whip up a delicious hot meal in a matter of minutes. This food is made fresh every day and often fried or cooked at high temperatures, which can kill any potential bacteria.
Best of all, it’s affordable! Because street vendors don’t pay overhead for staff, rent, maintaining a property and buying utensils and furniture, prices can be much lower for a higher quality dish.
Where’s the best street food in the US?
The good news is, you won’t have to go far to find a food vendor with something delicious. Courtesy of theculturetrip.com, you can view a list of street vendors around the country, from classic American to foreign favorites.
Arepa – Washington D.C.
A Venezuelan delicacy, this delicious dish is picking up momentum in the States. A flatbread made with ground corn, it can be cooked by grilling, baking or frying. The patty is then split open and packed full of tasty veggies, meats and cheeses. For a great place to try it, check out the food truck Arepa Zone, located in Washington D.C.
Burgers – Portland
While burgers aren’t exclusive to any one part of the US, ingredients vary wildly. And they aren’t just for carnivores either; vegetarians have a variety of options to choose from! For a delicious and diverse take, check out PDX Sliders.
Crêpes – Southern California
Originating in France, crêpes are typically made of wheat or buckwheat flour with butter and sugar, or packed full of sweet or savory ingredients like Nutella, bananas, chicken, spinach and cheese. One of the top-rated food trucks in the country, Crêpes Bonaparte, is a must-try if you’re after this French treat. You’ll find them throughout Southern California offering breakfast, lunch and dessert varieties.
Falafel – San Francisco
A Middle Eastern street food in origin, falafel has become a favorite across the US. Made from ground chickpeas or fava beans formed into small balls and deep-fried, falafel are then packed into pita bread with vegetables and tahini sauce. In San Francisco, the food truck Liba Falafel is the go-to place for this meat-free meal. It even has a bar for customers to choose their toppings.
Pizza – Milwaukee
Even pizza is making an appearance on the street these days! Food trucks are offering up the savory slices with a variety of crusts and toppings, from classic ingredients like pepperoni and cheese to duck and figs. If you’re hankering for a slice topped with beautifully fresh and seasonal ingredients, head to Milwaukee’s mobile pizza joint Street-Za.
Waffles – New York City
With its roots in Belgium, the waffle is a popular American favorite to satisfy the breakfast sweet tooth. If you find yourself in New York City, stop by the food truck Wafels and Dinges, which specializes in both Belgian and Liege varieties with a mixture of sweet and savory.
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